AP Political Writer
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sold much of his stock in troubled nutritional supplements maker Star Scientific last summer at a net gain of $4,040, according to tax records he allowed reporters to view Thursday.
The Republican gubernatorial candidate's records release caught his Democratic foe, former electric-car company executive and master fundraiser Terry McAuliffe, flat-footed. When asked whether McAuliffe would also let reporters review his income tax returns, McAuliffe campaign aide Ellen Qualls said no decision would be made Thursday.
Cuccinelli opened eight years' worth of federal and state returns to journalists on Thursday, revealing he paid $33,198 in 2012 taxes on income of $194,398.
His campaign said Cuccinelli sold his remaining shares in Star Scientific this year, divesting himself of holdings in the company. The stock, along with gifts from company CEO Jonnie Williams, has provoked conflict-of-interest claims for allowing his office to handle Star Scientific's $700,000 tax lawsuit against the state.
Shares Cuccinelli sold last year were at or near the top of the market for Star Scientific stock. The stock reached a high of $4.99 per share when Cuccinelli unloaded 1,400 shares on July 2. By November, it was trading as low as $1.56 per share. Star Scientific's Thursday Nasdaq closing price was $1.34 per share.
In 2011, Cuccinelli had purchased additional shares of Star Scientific, then worth at least $10,000 and not more than $50,000, according to the statement of economic interest he filed in January. Campaign spokeswoman Anna Nix said Thursday the last of his shares was sold last week, though she did not know the number of shares or the sale price.
"He no longer has any stock in Star Scientific," she said.
The company faces a federal securities investigation and lawsuits from two shareholders.
It's rare that Virginia gubernatorial candidates open their tax records, and Cuccinelli's move puts added pressure on McAuliffe to disclose returns that, among other things, might illuminate his role with GreenTech Automotive, a company he acquired in 2009 that manufactures a tiny, all-electric vehicle named MyCar.
McAuliffe said the company would create hundreds of jobs. It started operations on a modest scale last summer in a Mississippi suburb of Memphis, Tenn. McAuliffe, who failed to win the Democratic nomination for Virginia governor in 2009, said the plant went to Mississippi after Virginia economic development officials showed little interest in it. Government records obtained by The Associated Press later showed that state officials became wary because the company never satisfied many questions about the enterprise, including its financing.
McAuliffe quietly resigned as chairman of GreenTech automotive after announcing his 2013 candidacy in November.
Star Scientific was Cuccinelli's lone stock holding last year, but not his only investment. He sold shares of three Vanguard investment funds for a net gain of $852.
Cuccinelli's stock portfolio was far more diverse when he was inaugurated in January 2010.
According to his 2010 federal tax return and attachments, on Feb. 1, 2010, he sold shares he had acquired in six companies from 2001 through 2006 at a loss of $6,243. Among the holdings he reported selling were 64 shares of Altria Group, 150 shares of Emerson Electric Co., 64 shares of Philip Morris International and 24 shares of Verizon Communications.
The returns show Cuccinelli earning a comfortable living over the past eight years with total income ranging from a high of slightly more than $264,000 in 2005 as a partner in his Fairfax County law firm to $134,000 in 2009, the depth of the recession and the year he spent most of his time away from his firm campaigning for attorney general.
In his family of nine - Cuccinelli, his wife, Tiero, and their five daughters and two sons - that's hardly lavish living in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. The family kept its home there after he became attorney general, living chiefly on his annual state wage of about $157,000.
During that time, his total state and federal income taxes ranged from a high of $77,132, or a 29 percent effective combined tax rate, to a low of $15,687 paid on $158,128 in adjusted gross income in 2011, an effective tax rate of 9.9 percent.
He took deductions for $50,414 in itemized and in-kind charitable contributions since 2005. He also deducted $51,381 in mortgage interest payments over that span.
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